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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Why Darwinian fitness is a ridiculous way to assess ideas

A kind reader writes ...
Hi. I enjoy your blog.
I was wondering if anyone has ever commented on the fact that since neo-Darwinist materialists argue that religion and spiritual beliefs are evolved coping/survival mechanisms, that by implication all such mental constructs - reason, logic, materialism - are also evolutionary coping/survival mechanisms?

Furthermore, since having spiritual beliefs is a more robust coping/survival mechanism that has been successful in the way neo-Darwinist materialists count success (increased progeny & successful lineages), that the argument which condemns religious and spiritual belief as "flawed" or an "error" is by their own method of grading evolutionary success self-contradictory?

I mean... the success of the supernatural belief system in producing successful progeny is obvious; why argue against it on the basis of some trivial, non-darwinian notion such as "truth"?

I wrote a blog about it here here, if you're interested.

I appreciate the good reading. Sincerely,
William J. Murray

It's interesting you mention that, William, because materialists regularly fall into the trap they set for others by claiming that our perceptions of truth are not valid, but rather only mechanisms that promote Darwinian survival of the fittest. (Therefore, Darwinism is conveniently true, even though the mind that might recognize it probably isn't real.)

For example, genome discoverer Francis Crick, famously said, in The Astonishing Hypothesis,
Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive and leave descendants"

That IS an astonishing part of Crick's Astonishing Hypothesis, because it means that Crick's views have no better claim - on their own merits - to attention than anyone else's. Does anyone know how many children Crick had or how well they did? Or how many children they had?

Most of us would not typically think that progeny decided the issue - but then most of us assume that the mind is real and can answer for itself, so to speak. If the Darwinists are really serious about defending materialism on that ground, they should throw away any prescriptions they have for family planning (= limitation) aids, and seek to trouble us no more with ideas. Ideas are, after all (on their view) merely the random activity of neurons in the brain.

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